The Final Chapter
Kendall Juett's Hall of Fame Induction Puts A Stamp On Her Time At North Texas
DENTON -- In its 22 years, the Mean Green soccer team has won 12 conference titles.
Kendall Juett was part of none of them.
Yet her dedication to her team and the passion she had for the game made her one of the best players to ever wear a North Texas jersey and left a legacy that overshadows the zero conference championships on her collegiate resume.
Friday, Juett will be inducted into the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bringing a more than happy ending to her North Texas story.
"Her intensity level on the field was higher than any one she played with or against," said head coach John Hedlund. "She wasn't big in stature but she carried herself and played like she was six feet tall."
At 5-foot-4, the 2010 North Texas graduate was always the shortest or second shortest player on the Mean Green roster each year she was in Denton. Despite her lack of size, Juett not only handled contact, she typically initiated it.
She was an attacking player who could play multiple positions, and when she graduated she ranked in the top 10 all-time at North Texas in five different offensive categories.
"My dad used to always ask me `what do you have that they don't'," Juett said. "Typically it was speed but also competitiveness. It's hard to explain to people who don't know but wanting to be the best has always driven me. I love this game too much to ever give up. When you love something there's just no limit."
Juett was never taken out of a match.
Hedlund says it's what he remembers most about her, that her energy level was off the chart and she could run up and down the field without a break and without any change in her playing style.
Growing up in Carrollton, Texas, Juett used to play tackle football with her two older brothers. She says it taught her to be tough and to have a competitive nature.
"I wanted to beat them so bad," Juett said.
What also helped Juett succeed was her knowledge of the game.
Soccer wasn't something she had to learn. Being on the field is natural. The movements, the schemes and how she talks about the game is what makes her who she is.
"From the moment she put on her cleats in practice you knew she was different," Hedlund said. "You could tell she loves the game without her having to say anything."
During a match one year, while Juett was making her way to the sideline for a throw-in, Hedlund yelled at her to get her attention. However, instead of barking instructions at her when she turned her head, all he did was nod. As if to say `you know what to do.'
"He trusted me," Juett said. "We had a connection and he trusted me, and it made me a better player."
Over her four years at North Texas, the Mean Green won 57 games. Juett scored 30 goals, had 29 assists and 89 points. She led her team in nearly every category every year, and was just the second North Texas soccer player to be named first team all-conference all four years.
But the missing conference championship left Juett with an empty feeling.
"It stuck with me for a while," Juett said.
Now the semi-professional soccer player and full-time girls soccer coach at Denton Ryan High School, Juett stays in close touch with Hedlund. So when he called one afternoon, there was nothing unusual.
They spoke for about 15 minutes and then Hedlund said in passing, "Oh, by the way, you're getting inducted into the hall of fame."
"It was at that very moment all the hard work became worth it," Juett said. "People rarely know how much work you put in behind closed doors or the passion you have for something when you leave without a ring. It was tough to swallow. But the hall of fame is special. It puts a stamp on my time at North Texas," Juett said.